Last year was a great year for rosé, Grenache and Prosecco, with all three setting trends across the Australian wine market.
It’s always good for retailers, venue managers and producers to understand changing trends and tastes, and so Cellarmasters’ Head of Wine, Joe Armstrong, has come up with his top six predictions for the wine trends of 2019.
First up, Armstrong says that “Cava is the new Prosecco”. Prosecco has been one of the big success stories in the Australian market in recent times and it remains hugely popular. But Cava, which is similar to Champagne in both production and flavour, is seeing sales rise in Australia.
Armstrong said it is those Champagne characteristics, but with a price point at around $15 a bottle, which will fuel Cava’s popularity in Australia.
“Our palates are getting fatigued wtih Prosecco’s fruit-forwardness, so Cava’s dry and biscuity characters are welcome flavours,” he said.
Also riding on the success story from 2018, is what Armstrong says will happen with the rosé market in the year ahead.
It is still widely considered that the world’s best rosés come from France, and that they tend to be bone dry, with savoury flavours like cherry, musk or spice. Traditionally Australian rosé trends towards more ‘berrylicious’ aromas with strawberry and raspberry.
But Armstrong predicts this will change and fuel a rise in domestic rosé.
“Due to the popularity of French rosé, more Aussie rosés are being made in that typical, French dry and savoury style. The rise of domestic, dry rosé is a win for consumers as they are affordable and of great quality,” Armstrong said.
Italian varietals and other Mediterranean wines are becoming more and more loved by Australian consumers, and also by Australian producers with more making great examples of wines like Sangiovese, Nero d’Avola and Fiano.
Armstrong predicts more and more Australian consumers will see how these and wines like them work well with food, sparking a worthy trend in 2019.
“Italian wines are made to be enjoyed with food, and the lighter style reds and textured whites are the ultimate food wines. We’ll also continue to see more Spanish and Portuguese varieties,” he said.
For his next trend pick for 2019, Armstrong is tackling the question that many people have pondered in recent years; what will be the new Sauvignon Blanc?
The growth of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has slowed and its rise in sales has stalled, but Armstrong points out that the sales of Pinot Grigio are steadily on the rise.
“Although originally an Italian grape, Pinot Grigio has been so embraced on the markets it’s no longer considered an alternative variety,” he said.
“We loved Sauvignon Blanc for its powerful tropical and grassy flavours, but I think we’re all Sauv-over-it. Pinot Grigio on the other hand is fresh, with crisp flavours and high acidity so it’s both quaffable as well as a good food wine.”
With his varietal and style trends covered, for his final two predictions Armstrong has considered wider market trends.
Firstly he has said that the trend which saw sales of organic, biodynamic and natural wines skyrocket in 2018 will continue. Cellarmaster launched an organic wine subscription last year and Armstrong expects that will continue to see growth in 2019.
Finally Armstrong believes that the use of interactive labels will increase. Treasury Wine Estates has used augmented reality on its 19 Crimes label and CEO Michael Clarke said last year the company was looking at expanding this feature. And while wine labels have many mandatory laws and regulations to abide by, that doesn’t stop brands from having fun with them.
Armstrong said: “Recently, we’ve seen labels with augmented reality that come to life and bottles with adult colouring-in labels. Watch this space, we will see more brands coming up with creative, interactive labels.”